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Subject: Identifying writing implement

Identifying writing implement

From: Mark Clarke <mark>
Date: Sunday, March 19, 2006
Robert Lodge <mckaylodge [at] aol__com> writes

>I am interested in learning the identity of a mark making implement
>that was used to write the date "1840" on the label inside a violin
>made by a noted 19th century French maker.  The date's medium is
>blue and under magnification is clearly seen to sit on top of the
>paper fibers rather than within them as would be the case with fluid
>ink.  Also under magnification this medium has the sheen
>characteristics of graphite (blue pencil?) or, anachronistically,
>ball pen ink.  Interestingly, the lines are striated: it can be seen
>with high magnification that the lines are actually composed of
>seven closely spaced, parallel lines.  The striations do not
>correspond to the paper fibers and must have been caused by the
>writing implement. Any suggestions as to the implement used may aid
in the identification of authenticity or deception of this date.

I am a bit vague about this, and I am unsure when it was first used,
but it sounds awfully like what I was taught is 'laundry marking'
pencil, which was a graphite pencil with added dye; with age and
moisture this tends to look purpley.

Mark Clarke
Hamilton Kerr Institute (Fitzwilliam Museum)
University of Cambridge
Whittlesford, Cambridge, CB2 4NE, England
+44 1223 832040
Fax: +44 1223 837595

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:46
                 Distributed: Wednesday, March 22, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-19-46-011
Received on Sunday, 19 March, 2006

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